FORMER Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, yesterday lost a bid to stay his trial on a 47-count charge of money laundering brought against him at a Federal High Court in Lagos, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Trial judge, Justice Binta Murtala Nyako, at the resumed hearing of the matter yesterday, refused to be swayed by Fani-Kayode’s counsel, Mr. Chris Uche (SAN), argument on why the court should stay action on the matter pending the decision of the Supreme Court on his client’s appeal.
The judge, in refusing the application, held that she would not stay further proceedings as the appeal had to do with the admissibility of a document and consequently adjourned till October 10 for trial.
Uche had urged the court to adjourn the matter indefinitely to enable the Supreme Court make a pronouncement on their application.
He told the court that his client had challenged the Court of Appeal’s decision allowing the use of computer printouts as evidence in his case.
According to Uche, the apex court had sent out hearing notice to those involved in the matter and all the processes at the Supreme Court had been filed.
But the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Nelson Okedinachi, opposed the application on the grounds that the re-assignment of the case had rendered the interlocutory appeal at the Supreme Court an academic exercise.
He argued that since the accused person was re-arraigned before a new judge, the matter at the Supreme Court would not affect it, as there were new facts in the matter that the computer printout might not be needed.
Okedinachi contended that the EFCC’s Act does not allow stay of proceedings, stressing that the accused person should be asking for an accelerated hearing instead of a stay of further proceedings.
The former minister, it will be recalled, was re-arraigned on February 16 on allegations of laundering more than N500 million and accepting and concealing cash payments of about N230 million.